Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! of the Month – Winter Vinecki – August 2017

By Victoria Feng, Assistant Editor and AKOM Editor
Winter Vinecki, 18-year-old Founder of Team Winter and Athlete

 

Quote of the Month

“…dream big, and never let your age, gender, or race be a barrier.”
-Winter Vinecki, 18-year-old Founder of Team Winter and Athlete

August Amazing Kid! of the Month

As summer is drawing to a close, it’s a time for new beginnings the new school year gives us. From fresh back-to-school supplies to new classes, it’s a great opportunity to try a new club or take a new elective. If what you want to learn isn’t an available club or class in your community, take the opportunity to create your own thing. Ask a teacher to sponsor your new club or talk to your parents about creating one on your own. If it’s a class you’d like to take, there are a lot of online courses and books available.

When Winter Vinecki ran marathons, she realized that lots of other kids were in groups or clubs. However, in her area, there was no such program available. So, she created her own organization: Team Winter. Not only does it allow students from anywhere to join and be part of a bigger group; it allows them to support a larger cause: prostate cancer.

Keep reading to learn more about Winter Vinecki and Team Winter!

Running Towards a Cure

When Winter Vinecki’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, she decided to dedicate her nonprofit to fighting this cancer. She had already thought about creating a nonprofit organization but originally wanted to focus on combating childhood obesity instead. The organization is best described in a line on the Team Winter website, “Men won’t talk about it. She will.” And not only is Winter igniting a conversation for prostate cancer; she has raised more than $400,000 for prostate cancer research. Each donation goes directly to the foundation. This has helped her fund a researcher’s efforts at the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Winter Vinecki with her family, including her father.

Winter worked to honor her father’s memory and raise money for prostate cancer by running marathons. Anyone can also run in support of Team Winter and prostate cancer. Visit teamwinter.org to learn more.

She recalls even signing up for marathons was a challenge, though: “The hardest part about doing the marathons was actually just getting to the starting line. Hundreds of race directors told me that I was too young to run a marathon, so they would not let me compete in their races.” Luckily, Winter was able to find contest directors on all seven continents and became the youngest person to run a marathon on each of the seven continents. She and her mom ran together, helping Winter break a second record: They were the first mother-daughter team to run marathons on all seven continents.

Winter has a slew of championships for running and skiing on her website, starting from 2008. She donates her trophies to those affected by prostate cancer, saying, “…so that they know that someone is out there fighting for them.”

Connections to Skiing

At the Women’s Sports Foundation event, Winter discovered skiing. She was there to receive the Annika Inspiration Award for her work at Team Winter. Some of the people who attended the event include tennis superstar Venus Williams. However, the person who had the most influence to Winter at the ceremony was Emily Cook, a U.S. freestyle skier. Winter credits Cook to being her inspiration for aerial skiing.

Her journey as an athlete hasn’t been all fun and games, though. Winter says, “In order to pursue aerial skiing, I had to move away from home at just 12 years old.” She wasn’t able to visit her family and friends often, and when she did, it was for a short period of time. And her training in Utah definitely didn’t allow for typical high school experiences.

But evidentially, all the hard work and sacrifices paid off. Winter was able to make the 2016-17 U.S. Freestyle and Aerial Ski Team.

competes in the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup 2016/17 Aerials at Bokwang Snow Park on February 10, 2017 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

Eyes on Olympic Gold

When she’s not training, Winter attends the University of Utah. She had previously attended Stanford Online High School, a highly competitive private online school.

This month, you can pioneer your own project like Winter did. It doesn’t have to raise almost $500,000 or be a national movement. It can just be a small organization in your community to clean up trash or encourage fellow students to stop bullying—anything that floats your boat.

Currently, Winter is focusing on training for the 2018 Olympics in Pycheongchang, South Korea. We wish her the best of luck on her journey! We know she will continue to achieve great things. If you are interested in following her work, you can visit her website.

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